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Hello everybody. I was out shooting in a nearby park and found these ducks as part of a group of mallards. I'm inclined to think they are leucistic, but could they be hybrids? The hunting community calls them "blonde mallards". The third one seems to be too dark to be a mallard. I contacted Ducks Unlimited, but they could not identify them. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

 

Rubens

 

Light-coloured with black beak.

 

leucistic-mallard-hen-anas-platyrhynchos

 

Light-coloured with light brown/tan beak

a-couple-of-mallards-drake-leucistic-mal

 

Mallard? American Black Duck?

mallard-hen-anas-platyrhynchos-resting-m

 

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GS-Images    1,469
Posted (edited)

Last one looks the same as a female Mallard, same colouring and shade as all the female Mallards we get here in the UK, so I wouldn't say that's a hybrid. The drake Mallard on the right of the middle image looks like a standard male Mallard too.

 

The first one, I'm not sure but I wonder if it's an Indian Runner? They are similar to Mallards but a fair bit larger. You really know it's an Indian Runner when it stands up and walks, as they almost stand up straight. From that first image, the stance does look similar to when Indian Runner ducks stand up before actually starting to walk.

 

Geoff.

 

3-domestic-indian-runner-ducks-DX3A38.jp

Edited by GS-Images

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Lesley    2

Another duck with a stance like an Indian Runner is the Khaki Campbell, and your duck is the right colour for that.  But the eye streak looks like a Mallard. Possibly a Khaki Campbell Mallard cross.   Mallards do cross breed. We used to keep Muscovy ducks, and they inter bred with Mallard.

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Last one looks the same as a female Mallard, same colouring and shade as all the female Mallards we get here in the UK, so I wouldn't say that's a hybrid. The drake Mallard on the right of the middle image looks like a standard male Mallard too.

 

The first one, I'm not sure but I wonder if it's an Indian Runner? They are similar to Mallards but a fair bit larger. You really know it's an Indian Runner when it stands up and walks, as they almost stand up straight. From that first image, the stance does look similar to when Indian Runner ducks stand up before actually starting to walk.

 

Geoff.

 

3-domestic-indian-runner-ducks-DX3A38.jp

 

Thank you Geoff,

 

I think mallard hens have orange and brown bills. The third duck in this series has a black bill. That is what is making me question if it is a mallard or a hybrid.

 

Yes, the male in the second image is a "normal" mallard drake, but I have no idea if the female is leucistic or a hybrid. Here's a side view:

leucistic-mallard-hen-anas-platyrhynchos

 

The first one walked like a mallard, quacked like a mallard, but it was a bit larger and had lighter-coloured plumage than a "regular" female. And it was not alone:

leucistic-mallard-hen-anas-platyrhynchos

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Another duck with a stance like an Indian Runner is the Khaki Campbell, and your duck is the right colour for that.  But the eye streak looks like a Mallard. Possibly a Khaki Campbell Mallard cross.   Mallards do cross breed. We used to keep Muscovy ducks, and they inter bred with Mallard.

 

Thank you, Lesley. I'm researching images of hybrids and crosses, and you are right, it does look a bit like a Khaki Campbell. What a fun job it is to find the right keywords for images...  :)

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I sent a message to Ducks Unlimited (http://www.ducks.ca/) and to a specialist at the Cornell Lab Bird Academy (https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/). Their replies might be of interest to other people in the forum. And I was hoping I had shot a few "rare" ducks...  :)

 

Cornell:

These are all domestic, or “pet” Mallard ducks. The paler ones have been bred for the pale tones. They were bred in captivity and then released at the park. They’re not wild birds. In the poultry trade the paler ducks are known as the breed “fawn.”

 

Ducks Unlimited:

The very common “Blonde Park Mallard”  (google that phrase and you’ll see the same bird!).

 

I my opinion, these are domestic ducks that have either escaped someone’s collection, or have been released at the park.  They are not a weird colour phase of wild ducks.   Breeds of domestic mallards can be coloured like wild mallards, can have a big tuft of feathers on the head of an otherwise normal looking mallard, or a big white bib with normal mallard plumage, can be blonde, or darker brown, can be iridescent black, be mottled black and white.    Here’s a link that shows and explains more:  http://www.10000birds.com/manky-mallards-domestic-feral-or-just-plain-odd-mallards.htm

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Thanks for the information. I have a photo of a blond duck similar to yours. I took the picture in a north western Paris park, and have been debating whether or not to upload it because I wasn't quite sure how to tag it.

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Lesley    2

Thanks for that!  I'd never heard of those, nor seen them. Interesting to know.

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